Boss Keloid – ‘Melted On The Inch’

By Liam Knowles

Wigan quintet Boss Keloid’s latest release, ‘Melted On The Inch’, is an incredibly difficult album to write about. There’s no need to tell you it’s good, because if it wasn’t then it wouldn’t have the Holy Roar Records baby staring at you from its back cover. That logo is as close as the UK scene has to an official stamp of quality and this record does nothing to challenge that fact. The issue is explaining why it’s good, as Boss Keloid have taken their core sound of stoner / doom / sludge and dismantled it entirely. Once reassembled, we’re faced with a musical goliath that is unlike anything produced by the band’s peers.

Talking about individual tracks in too much detail would do a disservice to how well this album works as a complete entity. The monstrous, overwhelming riffs we’ve come to expect from Boss Keloid are present and correct, but expertly nestled between these are decadent clean guitar lines that would feel just as natural coming from a sitar or similar eastern-sounding instrument. Western bands have tried to shoehorn world music elements into heavy music before but it usually comes off as gratuitous or gimmicky. On ‘Melted On The Inch’ it remains tasteful and makes for a genuinely sophisticated overall sound. Add elements of vintage prog, dub and math rock into the psychedelic mixer and you’re somewhere close to describing this one of a kind record.

Of course, an album this richly textured requires insanely good production to do it justice, and ‘Melted On The Inch’ more than delivers in that respect. The heavier moments aren’t as frequent or constant as on the band’s earlier material, but when those gargantuan slabs of riff kick in, you bloody well know about it. Even some of the clean guitar parts sound heavier than some other ‘heavy’ bands, particularly with the layers of thunderous bass and the newly-added keyboard arrangements holding everything up from the rear. Vocalist Alex Hurst has power and range in abundance, and puts his versatile voice to expert use throughout. His style may be a little jarring at first, particularly when he employs a staccato style that follows the accompanying riffs, but after a few listens you’ll find yourself completely blown away by his ability to carry himself evenly in both the higher and lower registers. Truthfully, the whole record benefits from a few listens, if only to get your head round everything that’s going on.

From the hedonistic opening notes of ‘Chronosiam’ to the grandiose final moments of ‘Griffonbrass’ this record is utterly triumphant. It feels hyperbolic to use the word ‘masterpiece’ but it also doesn’t feel wrong. Boss Keloid were already a great band, but with ‘Melted On The Inch’ they’ve transcended to a higher plain of existence, from which they will likely observe and enjoy universal acclaim. It’s by far the best work of their career, and will make a fearsome competitor when it comes time to write ‘Album Of The Year’ lists for 2018. Seriously, do not sleep on this record.

LIAM KNOWLES

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